Chief Minister Andrew Barr has defended the decision of prioritising vaccination rates before relaxing COVID-19 restrictions, declaring: "maybe I just have a higher value on human life".
In a swipe at his critics, Mr Barr refused to budge on delaying details of a pathway forward despite frustration growing about the lack of clarity in Canberra.
The ACT government will reach its next Covid checkpoint on October 1, and it is hoped officials will give residents more information about outdoor activities, visitor restrictions, restarting businesses and the return to school.
The capital is leading the national vaccination race and is expected to be the first to hit the 60 per cent fully-vaccinated mark on Saturday.
But Mr Barr is facing growing criticism about the lack of detail in the pathway forward, saying his aim was to prevent deaths.
"I do not want to stand at this podium and give glib, 'This many people died today', like some of my other colleagues have to," Mr Barr said.
"It's just distressing for everyone. And we can do better and we can vaccinate our community.
"I've been criticised and we've got a couple of journalists here running that line. But maybe I just have a higher value on human life and protecting people. I'll plead guilty to that."
The ACT reported 16 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with at least 11 infectious in the community for some time.
There were 12 patients in hospital with COVID-19 with two people in intensive care, where they required ventilation. Two cases in hospital were NSW residents.
READ MORE COVID-19 NEWS:
The government is confident it can prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in the healthcare system after a Calvary aged care staff member tested positive on Thursday.
It's understood the staff member worked at the Haydon Retirement Community while infectious, but it is unclear if the affected areas have been deep cleaned.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith moved to quell concerns about an outbreak in the health sector.
"I would like to assure the community that ACT health facilities have extensive Covid management plans in place to minimise the risk to staff and to those who are receiving care," Stephen-Smith said.
Haydon Retirement Community residents were being kept in their rooms and group dining and activity was suspended.
"We understand this is distressing news for families with residents in our care. We want to reassure them that our priority and sole focus is the safety, health and wellbeing of their family members in our care during this challenging time," Calvary said via a statement.
"Our staff have thoroughly prepared for a COVID-19 outbreak, they are trained in strict infection prevention and control protocols and are ... focusing on our residents."
Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT and the lockdown is free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: